Another Anti-Choice Law Falls, Judge Argues, “Unconstitutional”

This Monday, a federal Judge ruled that an anti-choice Alabama law requiring family planning clinics that offer abortion services comply with medically unnecessary regulations is unconstitutional and imposes an “impermissible undue burden” on the state’s five remaining clinics. 

At hand was a law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privilege at nearby hospitals. Anti-choice extremists attempt to make people believe that if doctors do not obtain admitting privileges, women cannot get emergency care. This is completely and unequivocally false. The reality is that, in the case of an emergency, family planning clinics and other facilities where outpatient services are offered, under federal law, will always be able to seek treatment for their patients. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act has required hospitals to do so since 1986.

These laws are just another example of anti-choice groups targeting reproductive health clinics that provide abortions. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson said as much in his decision on Monday, writing, “If this requirement would not, in the face of all the evidence in the record, constitute an impermissible undue burden … then almost no regulation, short of those imposing an outright prohibition on abortion, would.”

If this law were enforced, three of the state’s five remaining clinics would be forced to close, as doctors are required to have a local residence in order to gain admitting privileges. It is commonly known, that due to low availability, physicians who provide abortions often travel across state lines to different clinics. Shutting down three clinics due to this law would seriously restrict women’s access to family planning services in the state. Judge Thompson also said that the state’s argument that this would at all improve the quality of care for women was “exceedingly weak.”

This ruling keeps in place the previously filed temporary injunction delaying the law.  Anti-choice Reps. in the Alabama Legislature say they’ll continue the fight over abortion despite the Judge’s ruling.

You can read more about admitting privileges here.

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